E3 2010 Preview: Microsoft

By Adam Ma on June 13, 2010, 8:18PM EDT

Microsoft has done an absolutely fantastic job letting consumers know that this year, Natal will launch in some form or another. In fact, most can already guess that this E3 will be filled with motion-sensor hype. Applications, useless video options, expensive peripherals, anyone who owns (or knows about) a Wii can already guess what's coming from Microsoft. But what about the games? We don't think that Microsoft will leave us hanging, at least not too badly.

It's hard not to wish for more Gears of War 3 info, and though Epic has done a fantastic job satisfying my need for character bios and background info I can only hope that Microsoft does their part by showing a bit of in-game. It would be great to see what the single player changes look like in motion, let alone see what the multiplayer could have in store for us. It would also mean that Microsoft would have something to show on the FPS front, since Halo: Reach has just concluded beta there aren't too many things they could possibly tell us that wouldn't ruin the single player completely. That doesn't mean that Halo: Reach will not make an appearance, but likely a limited one.

Another exclusive worth looking at is Fable III, if only because it's always entertaining to hear how each Fable game will change the course of gaming history as we know it. I wouldn't be surprised if they had an entire feature showcasing the different ways you can change the world of Fable III. On the other hand, seeing some combat before the game comes out would be shocking. They tend to hold those kinds of things to the very end of the

marketing cycle.

Microsoft's last big exclusive may come in the form of Bioware's Mass Effect 3, which could be out sooner than later. After ME2's critical acclaim at the start of the year, speculation that the final chapter in the trilogy could be ready by the end of the year kicked into gear. Considering the game's foundations are already in place (and recently being teased regarding a multiplayer game-designer position being open at Bioware), a teaser for the end of the trilogy is completely foreseeable.

Sadly it appears Microsoft's biggest announcements may have little to do with games and more to do with hardware and Xbox live features. Natal itself will no doubt have a massive showing, receiving an official title (that can be easily pronounced) in addition to a full lineup of games. I would assume that 'full lineup' means actual games, and not just shovelware such as Natal-Bowling or Natal-Baseball but at this point no one knows. Microsoft has also been rumored to be making some deals with Hulu, in an attempt to bring the service to a much wider audience. No doubt the service would work on a similar platform as Netflix, offering television shows to (most likely) Gold subscribers.

Overall, it could be a pretty rough year for Microsoft if they don't come up with something really fantastic at E3, since all of their major label projects have already been shown. As Sony begins to close some of the gap made in sales it can only be assumed that the Xbox would have to show something awesome this year. Whether or not that will actually happen is up in the air, but I have a hard time thinking that Natal alone will cut it. Perhaps we're looking at a lot of yet-to-be-announced exclusive titles at this years E3, but for now there's (unfortunately) little to look forward to that gamers may not already know.

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